For some people, the ability to touch their toes is a sign of fitness and overall flexibility. Although it's true that it does get easier to touch your toes by actually practicing touching your toes, there are some other exercises that you can do beforehand to prepare your body for the challenge. Work up to the seated toe touch by first warming up, and then doing some other stretches to get you ready.
Warm up your muscles. Even though many people do perform stretches before they do other exercises, you should not consider stretching a warm-up, according to MayoClinic.com. Instead, do five to 10 minutes of running, walking or cycling to get your blood flowing. You'll know you're warmed up when you have broken a light sweat. If you don't exercise much, your body will be better warmed up with a longer warm-up, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Stretch your hips. Stand with your feet about a foot apart and bend over slowly and deliberately, letting your arms hang out in front of you. Stop when you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and buttocks, and hold for about 30 seconds. If you want an even bigger stretch, stand with your heels on a 2-by-4 piece of wood or a round gym weight to elevate your heels, and then bend over and hang for 30 seconds.
Stretch your calves. Stand with a 2 by 4 or round gym weight under your toes, and then bend over with your arms stretched out below you. Stop when you feel a stretch in your calves. Hold for 30 seconds and come back up. Now that you've warmed up a bit, it's time to try the real deal: the seated toe touch.
The Toe Touch
Sit on the ground with your legs stretched out, feet flexed and your back straight.
Breathe in deep and engage the muscles of your abdomen, taking care to keep your head aligned with your spine as you slowly bend forward.
Reach forward with your arms as you bend into the stretch, aiming for the toes. If you're not quite there, reach as far as you can comfortably go and then rest the hands on the toes, ankles or legs. Do not bounce as you stretch; according to MayoClinic.com, this causes small tears in the muscle fibers, which can end up making your muscles even tighter.
Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then come up to sitting. The American Council on Exercise recommends repeating the stretch two to four times.